Hello everyone! My name is Caroline Wofford and I am an AmeriCorps service member serving this year as the Stormwater Education Coordinator for the Clean Water Education Partnership (CWEP). I was born and raised in Chapel Hill and spent much of my childhood playing in the creeks and streams of central North Carolina, so these issues are near and dear to my heart.
I recently graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry, and a focus in atmospheric and environmental chemistry. During my time at college, I was able to deepen my understanding of environmental science, while also learning also how science, policy, and human behavior come together to inform how the environment and natural resources are utilized. Throughout my education, I have often felt that science is inaccessible, and that there is a lack of effective means to communicate scientific concepts and findings to a non-technical audience. This hinders both general public understanding and effective evidence-based policies. I want to help get people of all ages excited about science as a way of understanding the world, rather than just a subject in school.
I am thrilled to be back home in the Piedmont, working to bridge this gap through clean water education. There’s so much we can do to help keep our water clean, especially regarding stormwater pollution. I can’t wait to work with communities across the state to protect our water, so all North Carolinians can enjoy a healthy environment for generations to come!
In this interview, CWEP educator Hannah talks with Terry Hackett from the Town of Hillsborough stormwater department. Terry’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all avid fly fishermen, which has influenced Terry’s involvement with his local chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Triangle Fly Fishers, as well as his career in stormwater. Learn more about how Terry dovetails his passion for fly fishing and his career to advocate for clean water in North Carolina. Thanks, Terry for helping to advance this important work in all that you do!
To get involved in the Fly Fishing community, you can visit the Triangle Fly Fishers webpage or find your local chapter of Trout Unlimited!
Tune in to the latest Water Leadership Series Interview, where CWEP educator Hannah talks with Scott Miles, stormwater engineer from the City of Rocky Mount. Scott shares about how his experiences with water resources from childhood to being an undergrad student at NC State University helped shape his eventual career path. Scott also details a new downtown revitalization project happening in Rocky Mount, in which the stormwater department is a key player. We hope you enjoy hearing from Scott as much as we did!
In mid-April, CWEP educator Hannah interviewed Amin Davis, the state and local projects manager for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Tune in to hear who and what inspires Amin to continue working in the water sector and where he sees this work headed in the future. In this interview, Amin discusses influential personal and professional relationships and the roots of the Raleigh Watershed Learning Network model. Thank you, Amin for your leadership in the water sector!
Know any young people looking to gain experience in environmental education? Encourage them to come and work for us!
We’re looking for an outgoing, detail-oriented person to lead stormwater education in our 40 member communities full-time September 1st, 2021 until July 31st, 2022. The deadline to apply is June 1th, 2021, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis—so encourage interested folks to apply soon!
Recent college graduates, graduating seniors, and current AmeriCorps members considering another term with background in environmental science, biology, geology, and education (with environmental science background) would all be good candidates. The AmeriCorps member will receive a living stipend of $17,000 for the eleven-month term, health insurance reimbursement, professional development opportunities, and an educational award of $6,345 upon successful completion of their term.
Here at CWEP we believe every day should be treated like Earth Day. That makes Earth Day as good a day as any to be reminded of the “Big 6” stormwater pollutants and how small actions at home can make a big difference downstream. Take a look at the infographics below to learn more. We hope you use today, and every day, as an opportunity to spread the word about stormwater pollutants and solutions.
Scroll through the carousel to read more about each stormwater pollutant and what you can do to help.
In early March of 2021, CWEP staff member Hannah had a conversation with Tots Height, the Program Director at Partners for Environmental Justice in Southeast Raleigh. Listen in to hear more about Tot’s experience in the water sector and her passion for working towards environmental justice, culturally relevant education and community engagement.
Keshi Satterwhite has been doing outreach and engagement for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association since 2019. CWEP education and outreach coordinator Hannah sat down with Keshi to talk about her passion, leadership, mentorship, and hope for the future of the water sector.
Our interview with Keshi kicks off our Water Leaders Profile Series, where we will be interviewing water leaders from across the CWEP region. Know someone in a CWEP community who is leading the water sector? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest our next interviewee.
Winter in North Carolina means shorter days and colder nights, a time when you might be spending more time indoors or bundling up to brave the drop in temperature. But what does winter mean for our aquatic animal neighbors? You might be surprised to discover that the winter is still an active time for many critters.
Water gets cold more slowly than air, which means fish, macroinvertebrates, and other aquatic creatures remain active even as the air temperature drops. You may still find mayfly, dragonfly, stonefly and other macroinvertebrates when sampling in the winter. Some people even prefer to look for these tiny animals in this season because they move slower and spend more time hiding under leaves and rocks.
Stoneflies overwinter as aquatic nymphs and continue growing even as water temperatures approach freezing. (photo courtesy of thecatchandthehatch.com)
Get involved: Macroinvertebrates are important water quality indicators and can help us assess stream health. Join or create an NC Stream Watch group to collect and submit macroinvertebrate data to a statewide citizen science effort! To learn more about the importance of clean water for macroinvertebrates, check out this video by the town of Chapel Hill’s stormwater department that talks about macroinvertebrates and dissolved oxygen.
Many salamander species are still active during North Carolina winters. You can spot red-back salamanders, lead-back salamanders, and maybe even the notoriously elusive marbled salamanders under logs in wet woodland areas. They are especially active during warm and rainy winter nights. Marbled salamanders breed in the winter, laying their eggs in ephemeral (temporary) woodland ponds.
The beautiful Marbled Salamander is the state salamander of North Carolina.
Winter is a time that many birds migrate to North Carolina to overwinter. Buffleheads, pied-billed grebes, coots, ring-necked ducks and hooded mergansers are some of the inland waterfowl you might spot on a nearby pond or lake. If you live on the coast, you might spot gannets, loons and wrens near the shore. Some bird species even mate and lay eggs in the winter! If you listen closely, you might be able to hear the nasal sounding mating call of a male woodcock on a mild January night. Woodcocks live in shrubby forests and grasslands near water.
Male buffleheads are easily identified by their large white crown. (photo courtesy of allaboutbirds.org)
Get Involved: Ready to do some winter birding? Be sure to download the E-Bird app before you go. E-bird allows you to easily track, record, and ID the birds you find. To read more about winter birding in North Carolina, check out this page on the Bird Watcher’s Digest.
These animals need clean water to survive or thrive (like us!) Help protect critters by doing your part to keep stormwater clean.
Thank you to all who submitted to our stormwater art contest which ran from August 5th to September 5th. Over the fall and winter months, we will be featuring submissions as our website headers. Maddie, our week 2 winner, took the photo that is featured as our new website background!
Winners will receive CWEP giveaways including a set of reusable straws. Check out our virtual gallery below to see the artwork submissions.
Below are the announcements of our winners! Congrats to all of you. Scroll through to see photos of the artwork and descriptions from the artists of what inspired their piece.